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Diary of a 60's Cover Band (Blog)

The latest astonishing song we've added is "Something in the Air", recorded in 1969 by the one hit wonder band Thunderclap Newman. They were put together by Pete Townsend around a drug addled drummer (Speedy Keene) and an eccentric jazz pianist (Thunderclap Newman). The song has a killer middle instrumental section.

We've also recently added "Everlovin' Man" by The Loved Ones to our repertoire in honour of the late great Gerry Humphries. Dennis does the most astonishing version you've heard bar the original. See him in action here. 

Remember the 60's?

The 60's were an exciting, revolutionary, turbulent time of great social and technological change: assassination, unforgettable fashion, new musical styles, Camelot, civil rights, women's liberation, a controversial and divisive war in Vietnam, the first manned landing on the moon, peace marches, World's Fairs, flower power, great TV and film and sexual freedom.

Please note:
The Substitutes are based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The members of 'The Substitutes' were all inspired by the music of the Sixties to start their own music careers. Though their careers went in different directions, they all became professional musicians, toured nationally (and internationally) and recorded albums and singles. All the while they have retained a love for performing live and for the music that originally excited them.

N.B. The careers of all the members of the 'The Substitutes' are documented in the Fifth Edition of 'Who's Who of Australian Rock' published in 2002 by The Five Mile Press.

Frequently Asked Band Questions (youtube videos):

How did the band get started?
Why do you only play '60s music?

Where did the name come from?

Who was in the band?

Why do you play music exactly like the record?

Who are the fans?

Why do you talk so much?

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Neil Scott 

  Vocals and guitar

Neil Scott grew up in Manchester (U.K.) and learnt to play guitar by listening to records by The Beatles, The Hollies and The Who. His natural ability and a succession of bands lead him to turn professional in 1972 with the band Tiger Fog who were invited to tour Australia shortly thereafter.  Rebranded as Chalice, the band found considerable success in both Australia and the U.K. through extensive touring, the release of 3 singles plus, in 1975, the recording of an Australian album produced by Jon English.

Neil, as part of Chalice, performed in concert with David Cassidy, the Doobie Brothers, Roy Orbison and childhood heroes The Hollies. The band also appeared on Countdown and other TV music shows as well as in the TV drama 'Chopper Squad' in 1977.

When Chalice broke up in 1979, Neil played first with Albatross and then with successful early '90s cover band The Stealers. In 2000 he formed the Captain Spalding Trio but in 2004 decided to 'retire' from music after a 30 year career.

A casual invitation to play with the Wendy Stapleton band in 2013 reignited Neil's interest in performance again. He has been further inspired by the opportunity to play the British music of his youth with the experts in this field, The Substitutes.

Neil is an extraordinary guitarist, a fine lead singer and has a great 'rock' sensibility. His Mancunian accent enables him to sing a range of British Invasion songs with uncanny authenticity. The harmonic blend of his voice with the Peters in The Substitutes has enabled the band to play a variety of songs they would otherwise have deemed to difficult. Hearing is believing!

Peter Reed 


Peter Reed is a veteran of Melbourne's rock scene who began his career as the drummer in 60's band The Dream who later became the New Dream and had a national #1 hit with "Groupie" in 1969 and a top ten hit with "Soft Delights" . Since then he has played and recorded with numerous bands such as Gary Young's Hot Dog (at Sunbury '75) , Pantha, the Mark Gillespie Band , The Tremors (with Kerryn Tolhurst from the Dingoes ), Lyn Randall Band, the Phil Manning Band , the Jane Clifton Band . Peter met Dennis during their long stint together in the Room Service Blues Band . He is a fantastic and authentic rock drummer.

"For about 12 months I studied with Peter Reed. Peter was the drummer in a band called "The New Dream" and was a mate of mine, so I asked him to teach me. I practised 4 to 5 hours a day. I don't think I've ever done anything in my life that required so much concentration." Gary Young of iconic Aussie band Daddy Cool from an interview in DRUM Scene magazine Issue 47 Dec/Jan/Feb 2006-2007.

Pete Robinson

  vocals and bass

Pete was a founder member of one of Melbourne 's first 60's pop bands, " The Strangers ". This band appeared regularly on TV, had a succession of national hits ("Lady Scorpio", "Happy Without You", "Melanie Make Me Smile, "Western Union") and included John Farrar who went on to become a successful songwriter in the US .

Pete's subsequent musical career has included such roles as television musical director/arranger/record producer for the likes of John Farnham, Johnny Young, Russell Morris, Ted Mulry, The Masters Apprentices and The Town Criers. He has continued to play with professional bands (including a long stint with the Seekers and a short but intense spell with punk rock band Blacksmith Hopkins) and is a highly respected musician.

Pete�s standing in the music community was acknowledged when he was invited to become Music Director for the Go-Show reunion shows that have toured Australia annually since 2010. He has been responsible for selecting the musicians, arranging and charting the songs being performed and playing bass in all the shows.

With his long and prestigious career in music, Pete is very well known within Melbourne musical circles and has played all sorts of music but The Substitutes have rekindled his love of the British Invasion music of the �60s because they aim to play with true period authenticity.

Peter Summers 

  vocals, guitar, keyboard 

Peter has been obsessed with music in all forms his entire life and played in many different sorts of bands, recreating the 30's music of Eddie Lang & Joe Venuti with Brendan Shearson , stretching the limits of country rock with the loving remembered Riverina Playboys (led by 'magic realist' artist Graeme Drendel ) before forming his own band, Strange Idols , with Brian Gamble in 1979. Check out the video of their Countdown performance here .

Recruiting singer/actor Robert Price (always the bad guy in such programs as Police Rescue and Blue Heelers ) as the singer, Strange Idols were part of the early 80's New Wave and played extensively for 4 years (with Split Enz, Midnight Oil, Eric Burdon, Australian Crawl, The Angels and Cold Chisel amongst others), and recorded a single and an album before Peter disbanded the group in 1983 due to family and business commitments. 

Though influenced by everyone from the Hot Club de France through the Sex Pistols to Matthew Herbert, for years Peter toyed with the idea of forming a band to play solely Sixties songs with an emphasis on the music of Ray Davies, Pete Townsend, et al because there are many classics that are not often performed.

After being forced to attend yet another corporate event with a B-grade covers band (the one with the two singers and a laptop computer doing Abba songs), he decided that, enough was enough, and he would form The Substitutes with some likeminded musicians.


MELBOURNE, Australia [The Substitutes Manifesto]  Copyright 2015.